Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Behavior Chart Communication Form - Freebie

I've had a few questions about how I communicate with my parents about what color my students end on.  I like to use these to stamp the color on their chart:

All of these colors correlate with my chart except purple... I needed pink!  So I found these:

Not only does it have pink, but they are "shimmery".  There is a silver stamp included - which will be perfect to use for my tree topper (top of the chart).  I haven't had anyone make it there yet, but they are working for it!

I originally used a calendar, but parents had questions about what the colors meant and/or if a student ended the day on yellow or orange they wanted to know the offense.  It is hard at the end of the day to write down on multiple calendars what rule was not followed.  So I made up this form that allows me to stamp the color for behavior and quickly write a number that correlates with a behavior offense.  Take a look:

Click on the picture to download the file.  If you are using the same colors on your chart - this may work for you.  If you would like the editable version, please let me know and I will either upload it or send it to you via email. At the end of 2 weeks, I take out this form and put a new log into my students' binders.  I will keep the forms in a file so that if there are ever any questions or concerns about a child's behavior, I can easily go back and see what type of behaviors occurred and how often. I thought I would share the form just in case someone out there could use it.

I missed my kiddos today.  I spent the day out of the classroom in a Science Data Team Meeting.  Looking forward to seeing my firsties tomorrow.
Have a great night!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Full Week in First Grade - Randomness.

I just finished my first full week of first grade and I am T-I-R-E-D.  I don't have a whole lot to share (I have some things I'd like to share but FORGOT to take pictures ~ I'll have to save those until next week).  So, I thought I would share a few pictures from our first week.  We started our word study this week and began learning our first word family (-an).  Here is a picture of how our tree looks after we thought of all those -an words.  Take a look:

My students were so excited to see our first Word FAMILY up on our tree. 
On Friday, we added our words this week to our word wall.  We only had three words, so I can't wait until next week to add three more.

Remember my Good Work Spotted Here wall?  Well, my first graders couldn't wait to get something hangin' up there on an owl - so we wrote about something fun we did over the summer.  Here is how our wall looks now. 

I had some really good writing and illustrations for our first week of school. 

Did I mention we have a class pet?  We have a guinea pig named Lenny (Yes - Lenny the Guinea).  He has been staying with one of my first graders from last year over the summer.  His mom said he took really good care of Lenny and they are going to miss him terribly.  Lenny has been adjusting quite nicely to our classroom environment.

We read Sammy the Classroom Guinea Pig which is a great story about a classroom guinea pig that was making strange noises and the class couldn't figure out what was wrong.  It turns out, Sammy was just wanting some attention so the kids love hearing Lenny "Wheep, wheep, wheep" when we enter our room.   We also read I Love Guinea Pigs to learn about where guinea pigs come from, what they like to eat, how to take care of them and that they don't like LOUD noises.  (Maybe it will help on our noise level??)  On Friday afternoon, we sat on the carpet in a circle and let Lenny walk around and "get to know everyone".  She did a lot of sniffing and loved being out of her cage.  We have lots of class pets at our school (mostly guinea pigs, fish, and hermit crabs).  Do you have a class pet?  We will do some writing pieces about Lenny later in the year.  I would love to hear about your class pet experiences.

OH!  And we started Saxon Math and I'm really liking it so far.  It is starting out slow but the kids are really engaged in the morning meeting and lessons.  If anyone has anything to share regarding Saxon - I would love to hear it!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day Math Explorations

Today was our first day of school.  We did lots of getting to know you activities, rules and procedures, smartboard activities - just to get the hang of using it - read alouds and discussions... but toward the end of the day I planned 4 math station rotations to explore some math manipulatives.  Even though it was fun for the kids, I can gather a lot of information from the way the kids use these manipulatives.  We had a pattern block station, dominoes, unifix cubes and large foam dice station.  As my students "played" I noticed some of the patterns they were creating.  We did not use any templates so I was impressed to see some of the awesome patterns.  Take a look:

At our dice station, I gave students a piece of blank paper and a pencil and they could roll the dice and write numbers or write numbers after adding the dice together.  I really left it open just to see what my kiddos would do.  Here are the dice I used:

Here are a couple samples. I was so impressed to get this:

I also saw students just writing numbers after they rolled:

I really enjoy walking around and observing my first graders so I can see where students are so I can meet them at their level and build upon their prior knowledge.  All in all, our first day went well.  I can't wait to see what our second day has in store!  Smiles ~

Parent Orientation

Monday night we had parent orientation and I got to meet my new little first graders.  They were all so eager to see the classroom and meet "the teacher".  I decided to give them a little welcome treat on their desk.  This is what it looked like:

I found these cute little printable popcorn boxes and made them for all my kiddos.  Inside I put a chocolate hug, a sticker, a starburst, an eraser, a pencil and a bookmark.  On the outside I attached a poem about what each item symbolized.  Here is a close up of the poem.

Even though the popcorn boxes were EXTREMELY cute, the ink it took to print them out probably wasn't worth the cost (lesson learned).  Orientation went well and I had my first graders find three things in our classroom and then they could write their name on our chart.  Look at these adorable handwritten names...

I only had 2 parents that were not in attendance.  I am so excited about all of the parent support and involvement I hope to have this year. After leaving parent orientation for my first graders, I went to my daughter's 3rd grade orientation.  And then last night, I went to my son's middle school (6th grade) orientation.  What a BIG event! We received his schedule, locker assignment and met all of his teachers as we toured the building.  I think I was more nervous than he was!  I can't wait for the first day of school!  
As I left my room that night, I decided to take a snapshot of my classroom from 2 different angles.  Here is what my room looks like as you enter the door.

As you can see LOTS of school supplies were dropped off on my back table that I still need to sort and put away. 
And here is the view from my class library looking back at the door:

Have a great night!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word Family Tree Files Now on TpT

I've now added my Word Family Tree Word Clouds to Tpt.  You may want to read my original post.  If you'd like to make a tree of your own, I've included directions and added additional word families (41).  If anyone makes a Word Family Tree, I would love to see pictures of how yours turns out! 

I have been busy preparing for Open House/Orientation.  More classroom pictures coming soon! Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forest Freebies!

I have spent the day working on my research paper for my master's class and I think (fingers crossed) it is finished!  I turn it in tomorrow and hopefully will be able to focus more on my classroom and getting plans and copies together.  Before I head off to bed, I thought I would share a few files I created for my classroom. 

 I made some labels for my book boxes.  I originally used the plastic book boxes from really good stuff... I like them but they did not fit in my cubbies well, and when sitting on the floor they always toppled over.  I hear they have new ones that have fixed that problem, but last year I decided to go with the plastic tubs from Dollar General (the kind that have holes in them).  They are white and plain but they worked wonderful.  They fit into the tops of my cubbies and my students could put plenty of books, folders and other reading supplies in their boxes without them toppling over.  SO, this year I did not want them to look so plain. I bought some brown ribbon with blue polka dots and weaved it through the top of the basket to give it a little something.  Then I created labels for my baskets that I laminated, hole punched and attached with small binder rings.  I numbered my labels so hopefully I will be able to use them again next year.  Here is a picture of my first basket.

I think they turned out pretty cute.  Here are some pictures of how they look in the cubbies.

I will have student names in the back of the cubbies (I just haven't done that yet). I have found that my kiddos can learn their student number pretty quickly.  I'm hoping this will keep me from labeling my book boxes again next year. If you would like the file, click on the image below.  AND I thought if you don't happen to have a "forest" or camping themed classroom, these little number cards would be perfect to use with number recognition, what comes before and after, and tons of other possibilities. 

In addition to this file, I'd also like to share my color owls.  I was going to put up crayons with the color words, but thought to myself... why not use OWLS?  Here are how they turned out.

Aren't they just the cutest?  So HOO-Ray for colors!  Here is the file:

I hope you like the freebies.  I can't believe I have gained over 300 followers in such a short time.  I appreciate all the wonderful comments and feedback and look forward to sharing with such a wonderful community of teachers and caregivers.  Have a wonderful evening and look forward to sharing more soon!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

TREE-Mendous Behavior

Last year I began using the clip chart system that allowed students to be recognized for positive behavior (not just negative).  Wow!  I LOVED the new system and negative behaviors could be modified just by noticing a student doing a great job and then that child was recognized for the positive behavior they were displaying. It was a win-win! Last year I made my chart out of construction paper and it wasn't anything fancy but it worked.  This year I wanted to create something to go along with my classroom theme and I began looking at all the little forest animals I could use for my chart.  It took me a while to think of exactly what I wanted it to say to go along with each animal.  Here is how it turned out:

I haven't written the names of my students on the clothespins yet, but it is hanging up and ready.  In addition to the top level of Outstanding - I decided that students will be working toward TREE-Mendous behavior so if they get to "clip up" on outstanding I will move their clothespin to the top of the tree.  Here is a close up of the chart.

I love the fact I can use the OWL in the middle for Ready to Learn.... he is ready for some knOWLedge.  And haven't we all had some squirrels in our classroom?  Check out the squirrel - he needs a reminder of the rules.  If the behavior leads to a consequence - which I feel should be determined by the teacher.  The student may lose part of recess, removed from a group activity, receive a time out... I feel like many times it depends on the circumstances.  So the consequence is a skunk - We don't want any stinkers in our classroom. HA!  Finally if a behavior warrants parental contact or a discipline referral I used the bear laying down and I believe sometimes we need to talk about the behavior, what we can do to change it - so that students can get "back on track".  The fox is displaying PAWSitive behavior for great job and the moose is "The head of the herd" for demonstrating outstanding behavior.  Here is the Chart Sign I placed on my tree.

If any of you out there would like this chart, I added it to my TpT store along with a couple of behavior logs that correlate with the chart.  I've included directions on how to make the chart into a tree also. I love using the textured backgrounds and I've found that in a pdf file they do not always print correctly.  They will print sort of scrambled.  After searching the internet for an answer, I found that if you go into print, then click on advanced and check the box for "Print as Image" it will print fine.  Has anyone else had this problem?  Is there another fix to this?  Please help if you know, because I am lacking in some technical skills.  Thanks in advance and I hope you like it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

WORD Family Tree

Last year our team of first grade teachers sat down and developed our reading curriculum.  Part of our curriculum includes teaching word families.  There are about 25 word families we teach throughout the year and last year I used those posters that are in the shape of the family - like a picture of a cat for the -at family.  I liked being able to post them around the room so that my students can refer back to the words we create using that family in their writing or during word work.  However, they are HUGE and take up so much space.  I just didn't like how they looked.  So this year I was trying to think of a way to display my word family words in a way that fit my classroom theme.  That's when I thought of our WORD Family Tree.  Take a look:

I thought about making a trunk, painting a trunk... then I remembered I had an old oak tree bulletin board trunk I could use and it turned out to be just the right size.  I hot glued it to my wall.  To create my groups of leaves, I  created clouds using autoshapes in word and made it the color I wanted.  I used text boxes to add all my word families.  BUT, I quickly found out that the 8X11 1/2 sheet of paper was not going to be big enough!  It was too small and I wouldn't be able to write all the words my firsties come up with on the cloud.  So, I took the file to my local Office Max and they blew them up to just under 11 X 17 - I think they were more like 10 X 15. They turned out PERFECT! Then of course I laminated and cut them out and WAHLAH!  Here is another close up picture:

Now I bet you are wondering - HOW am I going to write words on those groups of leaves?  Well I'm NOT going to write on them while they are attached to the wall.  I used velcro strips cut into sections about 3 inches long. I did this on both sides of the cloud. I hot glued the hook side to the wall and the other (loop side) stuck perfectly to the laminated paper.  When it is time to teach for example -ad words, I just walk up to our Word Family Tree, take down the family group of leaves - (our class will brainstorm a list of -ad words) and I will write our words on the leaves and then reattach to our tree.  I think it will be very exciting to see all the words added to our tree as the year progresses.  Here is a picture of how I attached them to the wall:

I am very excited how it turned out and hope my students will use our Word Family Tree to make connections with word families and use these words in their writing.  Our school district does not use a reading series so we have developed our own curriculum guide as well as use the common core standards.  Do you focus on word families in your reading curriculum? Looking forward to lots of comments!  Have a great weekend. Smiles ~

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Exchange GOODIES

This week I received some CAHUUTE and super cool book exchange goodies from Brenda at Primary Inspired.  Take a look:

I absolutely LOVE using picture books to teach or reinforce math concepts.  Brenda sent me the book Ten Sly Piranhas by William Wise.  It is a counting story in reverse - which lends itself to be a great SUBTRACTION lesson.  What is also neat is she included a book for the kids to make by writing each equation (For example: 10 - 1 = 9) and then illustrating the equation.  In this book, the biggest pirahna is eating the other pirahnas until the end... when an alligator gobbles up the sneaky pirahna!  Adorable.   You could also challenge students by asking them what if the sneaky pirahna at two fish, three fish or more?  Tons of possibilities, yet love the idea.  She also (HOW SWEET) sent me some dice in dice to use with this book or subtraction center. In addition to all that ~ she sent me another book called One, Two, Skip a few that includes a bunch of number rhymes.  Last year I always had a math tub that included a book about a math concept.  My students would read the book and choose something out of the book to create an equation and then illustrate.  What a great book to add to my collection.

I am so excited to have been a part of this book exchange.  If you were a part of this book exchange, don't forget to LINK UP over at How 'Bout Them Apples and share with us what you received in the mail. 

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